Social media and “Big Data” is becoming one of the most important marketing tools for the hospitality industry for 2118 and beyond. Analytics technology and big data have made an incredible amount of information available at the press of a button. The total amount of information available is just exploding, today there is an estimated 5 zettabytes 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of information available on the net. The increase of available information is growing so fast that it is expected to reach 50 zettabytes by 2020 or over the next 2 years. Every two days the total amount of data that is added to the databases is more that the total amount of data that was available in 2000.
Every time someone uses any form of communication device, it leaves a gatherable information trail. You leave your digital footprint, just by having your cell or smart phone turned on in fact, it is the same with any digital action, including smart TVs and Car GPS systems. Data can now be captured from photos, videos, recorded sound, written data as well as various different sensor recorders.
The term “BIG Data” refers to the collection of all this data as well as our ability to capture and use it to our advantage in all areas especially business. Big data works using the principle of the more you know about anything, anyone or any situation, the more you can make reliable and more accurate predictions about future trends. This is because you can cross reference data and gain insights that were previously hidden through a lack of knowledge and the technology to use it.
This knowledge allows businesses to make more intelligent decisions and more accurate predictions. The new available technologies are able to capture, store as well as analyze many different types of data using artificial intelligence and cutting edge analytics that was until very recently far too complex and complicated to work with.
The hospitality industry as a whole has been slow to take advantage of these new technologies and recognise their tremendous potential.
Consider being able to gather and use the information people share about their experiences in restaurants or hotels on Facebook or other social media. Everywhere there are security cameras, in hotel lobbies, elevators, hallways, and other public areas as well as in shops and inside as well as around private residences. These devices are all able to capture audio as well as video footage 24/7.
It is vitally important for the hospitality industry to see both the positive and negative side of how their customers felt about them so they are better able to change and modify their operations. A happy guest (which all guests should be) who is generally satisfied with the time spent in your establishment is likely to return and may tell others about it. But a guest who is not happy and finds your establishment to be lacking is very likely to tell everyone except you about it to your businesses detriment.
By taking advantage of all the information available on databases it is possible to reailise the areas of your business that need to be reassessed, adjusted and improved as well as seeing where your competition is. You can see the areas where you are making mistakes as well as the things that win new customers and improves your business.
The whole world is now starting to use this technology to revolutionise the way they do business. It is now possible to accurately predict trends and even what specific types of customers want in your establishment, the types of food they are buying and the services they require. This will enable you to tailor make a whole program or package for them, a package that includes all the positive aspects they have enjoyed in the past and deliver it straight to them in a sensitive and tasteful way via social media.
The collection of all this data is changing the world by the day in areas such as healthcare, crime prevention, education, hospitality, weather and natural disaster predictions.
Looking beyond what is happening 2018 it is obvious that to keep ahead of the competition and run a successful business it will be increasingly important to keep ahead of technological developments and market trends.
When a guest arrives at your hotel or restaurant there is usually a certain amount of waiting time involved, and it is not unusual for them to use their smartphone for social media. This incredibly valuable source of instant feedback is added to all the other data you can access to help give you the big picture of where your business is going as well as giving you the opportunity of seeing your establishment through your guest’s eyes and gauging his/her feelings. You would then quickly get an idea of the things people expect when entering your establishment. What they want to purchase and how they expect to be treated.
This new technology is not far away from the development of smart shopping and smart hotel rooms. Big data can gather details on your customer’s tastes, their habits and dislikes. When they make a reservation or even while checking in to your hotel, you could view their past hotel history and have their room ready and waiting for them.
Think about how nice your hotel would seem to your guests when they enter their room to find that the temperature was set to their desired level, their favorite was music playing or their favorite show was on the TV. Their favorite wine and snacks were waiting for them in the mini bar and all their other preferences were taken care of.
The first impressions are often the most important so these types of things can make a huge difference to peoples overall enjoyment and the experience of staying in your establishment. This translates to customer satisfaction and repeat business as well as word of mouth recommendations. I know when I travel, I ask friends about hotels they have stayed at and search social media for positive recommendations before I make reservations.
Google Questions and Answers are now linked to Google maps so you can now have a setup where consumers can ask businesses questions directly from the search results page of their computer or smartphone. This allows people in the hospitality industry to interact directly with consumers and their potential guests, in a very similar way to Messenger on Facebook.
By taking advantage of SEO and Image Optimisation to raise your Google ratings higher and also link your advertising or web pages and Sitemaps together, you would be able to increase your coverage and also utilize social media marketing.
The next step that you need to become involved with that has already started as a development of big data and social media is virtual reality.
This new technology is going to take marketing to a whole new level with customers being able to use 360 degree immersive video or virtual reality headsets to experience exactly what it would be like to walk right into your hotel, restaurant or café and see and hear firsthand your whole operation, just as it is in real life.